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Catalonia - People

Catalonia FlagThe population of the Catalan region in 1986 was approximately 6.0 million, of which 4.6 million lived in densely populated Barcelona province. The other three provinces were more sparsely populated. As one of the richest areas of Spain and the first to industrialize, Catalonia attracted hundreds of thousands of migrants, primarily from Andalusia and other poor parts of the country. From 1900 to 1981, the net in-migration into Catalonia was about 2.4 million. In the 1980s, over half of Catalonia's working class, and the vast majority of its unskilled or semi-skilled workers, were cultural outsiders.

Catalan was one of five distinct Romance languages that emerged as the Islamic invasion of the Iberian Peninsula began to ebb). The others were Aragonese, Castilian, Leonese, and Galician. Catalan was employed by poets, philosophers and chroniclers in the middle ages; but 1t was abandoned by the educated and only restored to its position as a cultivated language when the old words and forms, as well as the old ballads and folksongs, were recovered from country-people in the 19th century. The revival of Catalan as a literary language, the effort to keep it pure and to teach people to speak it properly is one of the most interesting movements of modern Spain.

Catalonia had one of the most advanced healthcare systems in the world and Barcelona is a byword for innovation in both medical care and technology. Over 10,000 overseas patients come for treatment in facilities famous worldwide for their excellence, such as: the Institut Dexeus, Barraquer, Teknon, Quirón, Planas, Tres Torres, Corachán, Puigverd, Platón and CIMA among others.

An efficient school system with an international educational offer is another remarkable trait. There is a wide range of educational programmes provided by more than 725 top-quality public and private schools. Catalonia is home to 12 universities, 35 international schools that offer the educational programmes of their respective countries of origin, and Barcelona is home to some of the world’s most prestigious business schools. IESE and ESADE are among the top European MBA.

Barcelona attracts visitors interested in architecture, design, culture, food, and so on. It holds sixth place among European cities for the number of overnight stays. Despite having a metropolitan area similar in size to Frankfurt, Munich or Rome, and being home to around two-thirds of the population of Catalonia -4.8 million people- the city enjoys a relaxed open-air and active lifestyle. In the streets outdoor cafés mix with food markets full of fresh produce of a rich local gastronomy or international music festivals; in any season of the year there’s always something to enjoy in the city.

Barcelona itself is a cultural hub with top international cultural and sporting events that attract locals, visitors and new residents alike. Music festivals such as Sonar or Primavera Sound are popular and established venues on the international music circuit, while other more traditional venues like the Liceu Opera House are acclaimed acclaim for quality of their programmes. This mix, arising throughout Catalonia, adds to the region’s international atmosphere, especially considering the 1.2 million foreign residents from 150 countries now living here.

Catalan society and culture have developed on the basis of exchanges of ideas, customs and people, due to a long history of migrations and trade with other cultures and nations, a consequence of its location in the Mediterranean. Catalan society had a deep-rooted regard for its institutions, its culture, its language (Catalan) and its traditions. The Catalan language is a fundamental element of the Catalan identity and had been vital as regards social cohesion. It is for that reason that it is important for all newcomers to learn Catalan, so as to be able to communicate in the authentic language of their host country, as well as to make it easier to get to know their new surroundings and to become independent in different aspects of life, such as work, relationships and citizen participation.

Reflecting the feelings and wishes of the people, the Catalan Parliament (Parlament de Catalunya) had defined Catalonia as a nation. It is a nation with over a thousand years of history and a distinctive character; a nation that had embraced different artistic trends and schools of thought, but which is also devoted to its traditions, without ever having turned its back on innovation and modernity.

The people of Catalonia have a great tradition of forming and belonging to associations, something that is one of the cornerstones of our civil society. There are recreational associations, associations that advocate human and social rights, associations of neighbours, cultural and sports associations, etc.

Co-existence (convivència) between neighbours is based on values such as solidarity, respect, mutual responsibility and cooperation. Applying those values promotes a sense of belonging to and of being seen to be a member of a community. The same values lie at the heart of public-spiritedness (civisme), which can be defined as the various qualities (attitudes and forms of conduct) that enable citizens to live in a community, respecting and accepting the rules of democracy and fundamental rights. It is up to everyone living in an area to make co-existence work and to take a public-spirited approach to life. To paraphrase Zygmunt Bauman, a community cannot exist without a sense and practice of responsibility.

Everyone who lives in Catalonia is entitled to healthcare, regardless of their administrative status. Public healthcare is free of charge and is the responsibility of the Ministry of Health (Departament de SalutOpens a new window) of the Catalan government. The Catalan health system is based on a combined model that incorporates all of Catalonia's health resources, whether state-owned or otherwise, into a single, publicly accessible network, and which reflects a tradition of organisations (mutual benefit societies, foundations, associations, centers run by churches) historically devoted to the provision of healthcare.

According to population projections by the Statistical Institute of Catalonia, average net migration could be nearly 50,000 people per year up to 2050. The scale and speed of these changes have put social cohesion under considerable pressure. Some indicators, such as unemployment and success at school in terms of the origin of people or their families, are certainly a cause for concern Yet in Catalonia there had been no serious social conflict in connection with immigration, opinion polls on integration are generally positive, support for xenophobic political options is negligible (unlike in Europe), and at present the vast bulk of public opinion supports taking in refugees from the Middle East conflict.

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Page last modified: 27-09-2017 18:44:56 ZULU